1965-06-09 - Sittin' at the Dock at the Lake
Summary: Amber and Charlie sit, smoke, and talk.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
amber charlie 

It's not too late in the evening; this time of year there's still plenty of light, though it's clear there won't be too much sun left in the day. The rear grounds are mostly empty now, though a few students may remain in their own little groups, or reading beneath a tree here or there. Charlie, for his part, is out away from any other younger students, off by himself on that wooden pier on the lake. Shoes off, toes dipping into the water as he sits on the edge. A cigarette in his mouth, which he inhales slowly, tapping off the ash into the water below. It's quiet and peaceful, and no-one around to bust his chops so far. Just the way he likes it.

Amber, sadly, has priorities of her own. One of those being the necessity of replacing a pair of wonky planks in said pier. Bertha's flathead growl, along with the tinny voice of a cheap transistor radio playing 'Day Tripper' can be heard long before she arrives.

Charlie can't help but let out a sigh as he hears the approaching truck, and the sound of that damn Brit group squealing out of the radio. He tries to ignore it, but eventually he can't any more. It's coming for him. But with still at least half of this cigarette to go, Charlie's not going anywhere. It's just him and the ducks, at least in his mind, for as long as he can manage it. Besides, getting up would mean he'd have to put his shoes back on. "I swear, I can't go a whole day without hearing one of those damn songs," he mutters out loud, not really caring who hears.

Amber pulls Bertha as close to the pier as she dares before parking, killing the radio and hopping out. "Sorry t' bother ya.", she says to the youngster, giving a friendly nod and a polite tip of her Stetson. "Gotta prize up a couple of them planks, there.", she explains in her lilting Southwest Texas accent as she moves around to the truck's bed to retrieve a pry bar. "Not to fret, won't be a tic.", she adds. "Already got the new ones stained an' weatherproofed, just gotta put 'em in."

Charlie looks a little relieved to find out it's not some dumb kids who somehow managed to get a hold of a truck and decided to tear around the grounds in it. Really, it wouldn't have surprised him. He actually, possibly for the first time since his arrival, cracks a bit of a smile at the woman as she hops on out of the vehicle and drawls the explanation for her intrusion. "That's an accent you don't hear much around here," he says flatly before he pulls another long drag from his cigarette, watching the woman. "I'll get out of your way in a minute here," he says after a moment. "Just lemme finish up my smoke?"

"Yeah, sure, go on.", Amber replies with a nod. "Hell, ya got one t' spare?", she asks with a bit of smile. "Been after them damn black ants most of th' day, got me all manner of aggrivated.", she grumps. "I dunno who the sumbitch was had this job 'fore me, but he let them lil' bastards run /wild/.", she sighs.

Charlie pulls the pack of smokes from his pocket, and draws one out for Amber, holding it up to her. "Pull up a chair," he says, inviting her to sit. Not that he owns the lake, but maybe in his mind he's entitled to it. "For a school full of people with extraordinary powers, seems to plenty of things that'd have been easy for someone to take care of, but no-one really bothered, doesn't there? I mean, ants? You're tellin' me there's no-one around here who can get into their little ant brains and tell them to go somewhere else?" It might be hard to tell if he's serious about that, given the very slight smirk on his face, but there's no joking in his tone.

"Thanks.", Amber nods, moving to sit next to the young man. "Got a light?", she inquires. "You don't want me tryin' t' do it myself. Might end up havin' t' jump in th' lake.", she smirks and winks. "As for th' ants, you got me.", she sighs. "Aw, hell, where's my manners?", she asks, sitting up a little straighter. "Name's Amber, or Ember, dependin' how much you're int' all this mutant doubletalk.", she says, offering the young man her hand.

Charlie does indeed, and he pulls it up from his other pocket. He even goes so far as to light the woman's cigarette, if she'll let him. When she introduces herself, he lets out the tiniest bit of a chuckle, but does give her hand a shake when it's offered. "Charlie. Just Charlie. Haven't bothered much about a fancy codename. Guessing you're not a student then, since you're here doing the manual labour?"

Amber will do just that. Because, fire? Ha! "Thank ya kindly.", she says, returning the handshake firmly. and proceeds to take a long, slow drag. Of the first cigarette she's had in many months. There is a bit of coughing and spluttering, but the next drag pulls just fine. "Pleased t'meetcha.", she says at length. "It is a mite odd, ain't it? All these code-names and whatnot?", she muses. "It does make a certain amount of sense, I guess. You do what we can do, might not be a great idea t' identify one's self. But it makes it surreal as hell sometimes.", she chuckles. "Nope, just yer humble groundskeeper.", she smiles amiably. "Well, 'humble' might be pushin' it.", she notes. "I find th' sumbitches puttin' gum in th' fountains, there's gonna be one hell of a recoking.", she growls. "An' somebody, don't know who just yet, has been litterin' the /shit/ outta th' grounds with cigarette butts."

"Makes sense if people are gonna be out hero-ing their brains out, but some of us are just trying to get through life without drawing any more attention," Charlie says. The mention that she's the groundskeeper sees him clam right up, and the comment about the cigarette butt littering doesn't help. Here he is, having smoked two or three, and there's no ashtray to be found. Of course, he's been flicking them into the lake, and they've mostly floated away, but.. so after a moment of awkward silence, he gives a halfhearted, "Some of these kids just have no respect for other people, huh?"

"Yeah, you surely have a point there, Charlie.", Amber nods. "Heroical doin's an' actual names ain't exactly mutually inclusive.", she sighs. "Lay yerself open t' all manner of troubles, that way.
"No, Charlie, they do not.", she sighs. "Breaks m' heart how little respect some have for th' landscape surrounds 'em.", she says. "I mean, look at all this. Just /look/ at it.", she says, gesturing with her cigarette. "All this beauty…an' somebody's gotta go and muck it up for no damn reason.", she grumps. Then takes another drag before dipping her cigarette gently into the lake and tucking it into the folds of her Stetson. "Gotta make safe this Earth, Charlie.", she notes. "It's th' only one we got."

And that leaves the question of what Charlie's going to do with his own, which is quickly reaching its end. "To be fair though, chances are it won't matter at all in the end, right? I mean, between, what? Aliens, mutants, trigger-happy war-mongering politicians? Something's gonna get us all blown to smithereens before all that." He shrugs, and takes one last long drag of his cigarette. This one he doesn't flick into the lake, though, but merely crushes against the dock and palms it. The other hand grabs his shoes, and Charlie pushes himself up and forward, off the end of the dock. His toes drag in the water, but he just kind of floats there. "As promised," he says to the woman. "I'll, uh, try to keep my butts off the lawn, from here on out."

Amber says, "I'd sure appreciate it, Charlie.", Amber smiles, then grins. "That's about the nicest thing I've seen in a spell.", she says after Charlie does his thing. "How d'ya do that?"
"Rest of it, shit, son, this world's seen more monumental goin's on than either of us can count.", she shrugs. "We ain't killed ourselves yet. Don't think we're like to any time soon. We'll make a hell of a mess, to be sure, history's any evidence. But that stuff always seems to balance itself out. First thing you gotta remember 'bout leaders, most of 'em are sons'a'bitches." she says flatly. "Except for the professor.", she adds quickly. "He seems pretty sincere. Took me in sight unseen.""

"Still working that part out," Charlie says, offering a bit of a shrug. They tell him it's a form of telekinesis, something about surrounding himself in a sheath of telekinetic energy which he can manipulate, but all that still sounds pretty much out of one of those really out-there science fiction magazines for Charlie's liking. "The Professor seems alright. I mean, not many schools would take in a convicted killer," he says, floating up just enough so his feet weren't in the water any more. "Doesn't mean I trust him for everything.. the guy's gotta have some other purpose for all this, don't you think?" Naturally a skeptic. And no-one's motives are entirely pure in this world.

Amber starts to reply, but stops cold at Charlie's admission. "Who'd ya kill?", she asks simply. "An' why?"

"My father. Was an accident, but he ended up dead, and I ended up in juvie," Charlie answers without hesitation, and without sounding particularly remorseful. He looks down at the water, and frowns before shaking it off and looking back up, the same disaffected, stoic expression replaced again on his face. "I don't think many of the students know, but I expect most of the teachers do. Not trying to hide it or anything, but.. most people aren't exactly happy to sit in class with a guy with my history, you know?"

Amber steps up to lay her hand on Charlie's shoulder, or at least, offer. "You ever try an' tell your side of that story, son?", she asks simply. "Might clear th' air, ifn'n you do."

Charlie pauses a moment, a little hesitant at the touch, but he doesn't shrug it off. At least not immediately. "And what, tell them that I used my mutant power in a moment of panic, pushed my dear old dad off the side of a cliff by accident in a desperate move to stop him wailing on me? Have a feeling I'd have gotten a lot worse than a couple years in juvie if that'd been my story," Charlie says without taking his eyes off the woman. "Believe me, I've played out every way it could have gone in my head. Lucky I got a lawyer who didn't hate mutants, but he wasn't eager to fight that fight either. Copped to the accident, left the details vague, admitted it was my fault. Judge was sympathetic because the asshole was trying to beat the piss out of me, but at the end of the day, I pushed him. Didn't mean to, but I did, and frankly, I don't feel bad about it. I'm fine with it. Took my licks, did my time, moving on with my life." There's a bit of a pause, and he floats forward just a few inches toward the woman. "Look, I appreciate the concern. Just.. not really used to getting a lot of sympathy."

Amber listens attentively as Charlie unpacks his heart. "First off, I ain't gonna kiss ya.", she says, pressing Charlie gently back. "An'that's a tale of woe, to be sure. So why not tell it? What the hell you got to hide?", she asks sharply. "Yer dad was a sumbitch, by your account. Hell, I was you, he'd'a been burnin'when he took the plunge.", she says firmly. "The truth shall make you free, thus sayeth the Bible verse I caint remember.", she says. "All a' that anger seems pointed in th' wrong direction. At /you/. Point it at them who are."

Charlie smirks, and floats back again. "Wasn't thinking you would," he defends himself. "You're the first person I've really explained it to. Feels good to say it out loud, but I'm not convinced it'd do any good to go further. I'm not looking for sympathy. What's done is done, right? And yeah, he really was. Found out I was a mutant and that was it for him. I figure we both paid for what we did though. End of the day, nothing's gonna change that. More people like him in the world than people like us."

Amber takes the message and backs up a step or two. "Gotta get if off yer chest sometime, I figure.", she shrugs with a hint of smile.

Charlie nods a couple times, but doesn't say much more on the subject. Already done more heart-pouring-out than he meant to. Something about the peaceful water, the sun getting low in the sky. "Well Ember-Amber, glad to have met you. Have a nice night," he says, giving a bit of a smirk, and floating further on before turning, and flying up and over the water, out of sight. Things to do, perhaps.

"You take care, now, Charlie. An' I see another cigarette but on my lawn, it's goin' where the sun don't shine!", Amber smiles, waving friendly-like.

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